Not the Messiah! There are no magic wands.


Felt I needed to clarify my headteacher tweet. Now going on a internet break

The new academic year is always a fascinating thing. Dreams, hopes, ambitions often fill the air with their heady perfume. However the dreams and ambitions of the last few years seem to be more akin to survival than forging new paths. It is hard. It’s hard for Teachers, SLT’s and heads. I genuinely don’t have all the answers, as a team we have a lot more.  For us this year it’s about doing what we do but better. Honing /polishing/ tweaking.

This however is the point when the “Experts” swoop, praying on the stragglers from the flock.
Never thought I’d agree with Michael Gove but I have to say I’m sick of “Experts”


There are a lot of people who essentially promote themselves as the new messiah…The man with all the answers (They are invariably men)…They are infallible, armed with their sword of research, their shield of “I think you’ll find…”, the sacred armour of “I know best!”and the helmet of mansplaining. They will without any knowledge of you and your school proceed to tell you how you are wrong and they are right. They will tell some anecdote about some school somewhere that did this thing and it was all amazing.

They will offer you a vision after your 40 days wandering in the desert. A picture of a perfect world, a luscious place where the sun always shines and the lemonade river flows past the lollipop trees. They will tempt you. They will dazzle you with sparkly figures often written on the side of a big red bus. They will present this years thing. (5 years ago they would have flogged Learning Styles or Brain Gym)


They will then present their Holy Grail.


“Do it like I did once…it worked for me” They will say accompanied by choirs of angels exalting their panacea to the heavens.

What frustrates most is the seeds of discord that these “experts” will sow amongst teachers. They will blame SLT’s or heads.

Except they often haven’t done it really. They haven’t led a school and faced the myriad of challenges that fly at you like stalker birds. They haven’t actually put themselves out there and put their career on the line by taking on the challenge.

Those that have invariably won’t tell you what to do, they’ll coach, question and help you find your solution.

Having worked in 7 schools in 23 years the one thing I know is that there is no one answer. What works in one place often won’t work elsewhere. The one common factor in school success is hard work, commitment to the vision and the whole school pushing together.

Now let me show you one I prepared earlier…

*Not all experts do this by the way, some genuinely bring expertise in their area, they are passionate about what they do. They don’t make wild promises. 



2 thoughts on “Not the Messiah! There are no magic wands.

  1. A very insightful comment Simon. I especially like your comment about how experienced leaders will coach and question , not tell.
    I have been in education for 30 years now and been a HT 5 times and Adviser for Primary and Early Years…your approach is my approach.
    Perhaps we can meet in the future and continue this thread!


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